With the poise of a veteran and the photographs of a champion, 19-year-old Iga Swiatek picked the proper place for her first tour-level title: the French Open.
Unseeded and ranked merely 54th, Swiatek grabbed the final six video games to beat Sofia Kenin 6-Four, 6-1 within the closing at Roland Garros on Saturday, changing into the primary Polish tennis participant to win a Grand Slam singles trophy.
When she smacked one final forehand winner to the nook to finish issues, Swiatek positioned her proper hand over her mouth then crouched, shaking her head.
Arduous to imagine? Perhaps. This was, in any case, solely her seventh main match; she’d by no means been previous the fourth spherical.
However the best way she performed these two weeks made this consequence much less of a shock.
Swiatek is the primary lady to triumph in Paris with out ceding a set since Justine Henin in 2007.
And she or he did it with victories over such opponents as 2018 champion Simona Halep and 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, each by scores of 6-1, 6-2.
So it made sense that Swiatek would be capable of get previous Kenin, a 21-year-old American who was attempting to say her second main title of 2020 after profitable the Australian Open in February.
Kenin was 16-1 in Grand Slam matches till Saturday. However she handled a leg difficulty within the second set and confirmed frustration by kicking her red-white-and-blue racket after misplaced factors.
After which there was this: She bumped into the composed Swiatek, who solely lately accomplished her highschool research, listens to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Weapons N’ Roses earlier than strolling on court docket and meditates throughout changeovers, respiration slowly along with her eyes closed.
This weekend is the end result of an uncommon two weeks, to say the least. The match was postponed kind Might-June to September-October due to the coronavirus pandemic; the lately rising variety of COVID-19 circumstances in France led the federal government to restrict the variety of spectators allowed on the grounds to 1,000 every day.
Some high girls, together with 2019 champion Ash Barty and three-time main champ Naomi Osaka didn’t enter the occasion; 23-time Slam winner Serena Williams withdrew earlier than the second spherical with an harm.
The temperature was within the mid-50s (low teenagers Celsius), with a slight breeze, and the tons of of followers scattered in Courtroom Philippe Chatrier have been principally subdued — apart from a bunch that may shout out Swiatek’s first identify, stretching it out over a number of seconds every time to sound like “Eeeeeeeeeee-gah.”
On the changeover after the third recreation of the second set, Kenin was visited by a coach and went off the court docket for a medical timeout, then returned along with her left thigh wrapped.
Kenin mentioned after her fourth-round match Monday that she had slipped and perhaps pulled one thing throughout apply the day earlier than.
Whereas Kenin was gone, Swiatek tried to remain heat by pulling on a white jacket and hitting some serves, incomes applause from spectators.
When play resumed, Swiatek wanted solely 12 extra minutes to wrap up the victory, ending with a 25-10 edge in winners.